As if the Miami Dolphins didn’t need more bad injury news as they try to lock up a wild card spot in the AFC, star cornerback Xavien Howard is now dealing with a new injury.
Of course, the Dolphins will be without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in their Week 17 game against the New England Patriots. Tagovailoa suffered his second confirmed concussion of the season in a Week 16 loss.
Now, it looks like Howard is hampered by an injury as well. However, his status for the key Week 17 matchup is not yet clear.
“The Dolphins’ four-time Pro Bowl cornerback popped up on the team’s Thursday injury report as limited in the day’s drills due to a knee injury,” David Furones of the Sun Sentinel reported.
“Howard was not seen in Miami’s locker room in a 45-minute session open to media at team facilities after Thursday’s drills.
“The knee ailment is new for Howard. He dealt with groin injuries for much of the first half of the season but was last listed as dealing with the groin injury ahead of the Oct. 30 game against the Detroit Lions, when he entered questionable.”
Knee injuries are always scary, but they can especially hamper players who rely on their speed and fluidity to be effective in games. Above all defensive positions, it can be argued that speed and fluidity are most important to corners.
To make matters more worrisome for the Dolphins, cornerback is already a position of weakness for the team due to a number of major injuries that have taken place throughout the season. Star corner Byron Jones has not yet played this season as he recovers from ankle surgery.
That surgery, which took place in March, was supposed to sideline him for only two months. An unspecified setback has impacted that timeline greatly.
Corners Trill Williams and Nik Needham are also absent, as they were both places on the injured reserve list months ago.
So, with two games left on the calendar, the Dolphins find themselves in very familiar territory. They are once again playing for their playoff lives and facing the very real possibility that they will miss out on the whole affair.
For the last two seasons, the Dolphins have been in the playoff conversation before ultimately falling short on that goal.
It will be interesting to see if they can overcome that trend this season. Surely, Howard’s availability this weekend and next will have some kind of impact on the team’s overall success.